Social Bite partners with BaxterStorey to open 'pay it forward' London site

15 March 2022 by
Social Bite partners with BaxterStorey to open 'pay it forward' London site

Social Bite has opened its first London site, offering a ‘pay-it-forward' scheme for customers to buy drinks and meals for the homeless.

The social enterprise is being supported by Coutts, which owns the site on the Strand, and contract caterer BaxterStorey, which is providing operational support.

Social Bite runs five coffee shops in Scotland. It was founded by Josh Littlejohn and Alice Thompson in 2012 when a homeless person walked into their Edinburgh sandwich shop and asked for a job.

In addition it now runs two sites in partnership with BaxterStorey, on the Strand in London and within Nat West's headquarters in Edinburgh.

Since 2012 it has given out an average of 180,000 items of free food a year and launched a programme to provide job opportunities for those who have experienced homelessness.

Littlejohn said the project allows those marginalised by society to feel like an average customer, queuing for a coffee or sandwich in one of his sites.

He added: "We're also working with charities in London to provide referrals for employment. The first person from a background of homelessness has now been offered a job and we hope to offer three jobs through the new café and have more through partnerships with BaxterStorey and other employers in London."

BaxterStorey chief executive Ronan Harte said: "We are acutely aware of the issues around homelessness, not just in London, but across the UK, and are proud to be collaborating with organisations like Social Bite to help tackle some of the challenges facing an increasing number of people today.

"This café will give many people the opportunity to contribute in their own way, as well as offer some of the most vulnerable people in society a viable route into work."

Alistair Storey, chairman at BaxterStorey, added: "The team at Social Bite have demonstrated that if you get all the components right you can get people into decent jobs and a sense of self respect and re-integration into the community."

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